Brussels rises 16 places on 'Most expensive cities for expats' list

Brussels rises 16 places on 'Most expensive cities for expats' list
Grand Place in Brussels. Credit: The Brussels Times / Belle de Jong

Brussels has become a considerably more expensive city for foreign workers to live in, rising 16 places to 39th on the annual list of HR company Mercer.

With inflation skyrocketing around the globe, life is becoming increasingly expensive for locals and expats alike. The most expensive city  in the world for expats is Hong Kong.

The sharp rise for Brussels is a result of high inflation and the weakening of the euro against the dollar, as the study uses New York City as a reference. Workers employed in another country are usually reimbursed through their home country for expenses in the country where they live and work.

Increased cost of living

“Living has become significantly more expensive for expats, and without an adjustment to the indexation of their compensation, this will be at the expense of their purchasing power,” reads Mercer's report.

Meanwhile, the increasing popularity of teleworking and flex-working also has its consequences, as many workers have reconsidered their priorities, work-life balance and choice of place to live. “Expats are more likely to reconsider whether it is still attractive to work in Brussels in these circumstances,” Mercer said.

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The fact that Brussels has become more expensive may also have an impact on its appeal. “In the long run, this increase in costs may prompt a company to withdraw international staff from Brussels and relocate them to less expensive cities,” Mercer said.

Top 10

The top 10 most expensive cities for expats, according to Mercer’s ranking, are as follows:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Zürich
  3. Geneva
  4. Basel
  5. Bern
  6. Tel Aviv
  7. New York City
  8. Singapore
  9. Tokyo
  10. Beijing

Brussels sits in 39th place, between Victoria on the Seychelles and Shenyang in China. Other European cities that rank higher than Brussels are Copenhagen (11th place), London (15th place), Vienna (21st place) and Amsterdam (25th place).


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